A round-up of local news from the past week
Submitted by Geoff Caine
If you have any comments or suggestions for future coverage here do email me.
Featured this week:
But first, a seasonal delight – a new generation of lambs and goats full of the joys of youth. Click on the lamb to see Frolicking Lambs and Goats.
Cases For and Against an Elected Mayor
Many or up for the job but the pros and cons of an elected mayor are hard to find!
A Directly Elected Mayor (DEM) , being the correct term, is elected by a poll of the electorate of a municipal corporation (town or city). This mayoral system differs from the current system we have in Birmingham whereby a Leader is chosen by the cabinet of the political party having the majority of councillors chosen by voters in a local election.
The powers of a DEM are a complex combination of those of a Leader of the Council plus other exclusive rights such as the appointment of up to nine elected Councillors to the cabinet. How this all works in practice I suspect depends on the approach of the particular DEM and the size of the authority. There are 16 DEMs currently in the this country the most famous of which is in London.
On 3 may this year there is the referendum to decide whether Birmingham will have a DEM. Then if the answer is Yes voters will be able to choose the DEM on 3 November this year.
There is a dearth of information about the pros and cons of a DEM; this is possibly because of the way the role will be executed by a particular DEM. Consequently perhaps, we have several prospective candidates for the role who basically are publicly declaring what they would achieve rather than how wise it is to decide whether or not to have a DEM.
Thus far, I have found just two items which may be of help in deciding how to vote in the referendum.
- Against a DEM is an organised body called Vote No to a Power Freak campaign – this is serious (I think) in spite of the name.
- For a DEM is an article in the Birmingham Mail about Sir Peter Soulsby DEM of Leicester.
Next week I will try to identify the possible advantages and drawbacks, together with the possible blessings and dangers of an elected mayor system.
The Shard of Glass
Tallest building in Europe nears completion!
Though this is not local news it is so impressive that I’ve included it.
Europe’s tallest building is nearing completion in London.
It became the tallest building in December 2011 even though it was not complete. When it is completed, in May this year, it will be 310 metres (1020Ft) tall. That’s about 3 average size football pitches end to end or 71 double decker buses, or 206 UK males standing on each other’s shoulders.
The are 87 floors, the last eighteen of which constitute the spire, but of interest to me is the observatory open to the public, I understand, spanning floors 68 to 72. The building will be of mixed use – lobby, offices, restaurants, a hotel, a spa, and residential apartments.
Construction started in March 2009 and the building was topped out in March this year. It will be open to the public in June in time for the Olympics.
The building stands in the London Bridge Quarter on the South Bank, nearest tube station is London Bridge.
If you suffer from vertigo or don’t like heights don’t read on.
The views from the top over London are stunning!
First of all there’s an interactive panorama taken by a camera at the top of the building. You can pan around 360 degrees of uninterrupted views of London and you can also zoom in and out – Staggering!
Then there are some really scary views taken by some invaders of the site who managed to climb to the top, passed the security men!
For more description, building photos and artists impressions see the official Shard website and Wikipedia.
How to Play Flash on your iPad or iPhone
Overcome Apple’s lack of flash!
For those of you who have suffered the frustration of encountering a video, slideshow or other dynamic items only to find that your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad won’t play them, I have a simple solution.
There is an app. called Photon Flash Player… which you can download from the Apps Store, that will play Adobe Flash slideshows, videos, etc, in any website.
Once downloaded, you can use Photon instead of Safari for all your Internet browsing (it has great advanced features), or just when Safari refuses to play some flash-based item.
These i devices and Mac computers don’t have an Adobe Flash Player included as standard. So, when you try to display a page which contains Adobe flash technology you get a message such as:
“This photo gallery requires the Adobe Flash Player. Get the free flash player here.”
Unfortunately, when you follow the link to Adobe you get a message such as “We’re Sorry This content requires Adobe Flash Player, which is not supported on your device.” So, you can’t play the flash!
But actually you can – there is a simple way as detailed below. To try this solution access this Weekly News post on your i device then try out this link before and after the solution below.
What you need to do:
Download the Photon Flash Player… app. from the App Store in the normal way. (There is a small one-off charge of £2.99.)
(Please Note: You might encounter some once-off security questions before you can download to an iPhone or iPod touch. This is Apple increasing its security and nothing to do with Photon)
Then, whenever you encounter the problem….
- Click on the installed Photon icon.
- Browse to the website in which the Flash is featured.
- Click on a Flash link and a new window opens displaying the message “This xxxx requires the Adobe Flash Player. Get the free flash player here.”
- Click on the Lightning button (could either be on the top or bottom toolbar).
The page containing the Flash will be displayed.
Well worth while once installed!
Events This Weekend
St George’s Day Celebrations Sunday 18 April – Victoria and Chamberlain Squares – 11am to 5pm.
Family entertainment music, stalls, rides, face painting, etc.
Vaisakhi : Sikh New Year celebrations Saturday 22 April – Handsworth Park – 12pm to 6:30pm
Processions, stalls and displays, music, sport and food.
Submitted by Geoff Caine